We here at EW subscribe to the notion that it’s never too early to plan ahead, so we’ve already marked our calendars in anticipation of next summer’s biggest movies: The Dark Knight (July 18)! Indiana Jones 4 (May 22)! The Incredible Hulk (June 13)! But we’ll also make time in our schedules for these six under-the-radar flicks, which have the potential to break out as 2008’s warm-weather sleeper hits.
FORGETTING SARAH MARSHALL (May 30) and PINEAPPLE EXPRESS (Aug. 8)
It’s another two-fer from this summer’s star producer Judd Apatow, who reteams with Knocked Up‘s Seth Rogen and Jason Segel. In Marshall, Segel (who also wrote the screenplay) plays a sad sack who winds up at the same Hawaiian resort as his ex (Kristen Bell) and her new boy toy (Russell Brand). In the stoner comedy Express, Rogen and James Franco play potheads who witness a murder and end up on the run.
NIGHTS IN RODANTHE (June 6)
Unfaithful‘s Diane Lane and Richard Gere reunite for this romance about two lost souls who meet cute in the titular North Carolina town. We’re always skeptical when we hear that something is ”based on a Nicholas Sparks novel,” but if Rodanthe produces even half as much heat as Gere and Lane’s last pairing, it could draw a lucrative female audience.
HELLBOY 2 (July 11)
Yeah, we said it. 2004’s Hellboy was a $60 million hit thanks to a game leading man (go on with your horned self, Ron Perlman!) and eye-popping visuals. Guillermo del Toro returns with his first directing gig since the Oscar-winning Pan’s Labyrinth.
MAMMA MIA! (July 18)
Hairspray proved musicals can flourish amid summer’s big-budget spectacles. Now Hollywood is hoping audiences take a chance on Mia!, which stars Meryl Streep and Pierce Brosnan as former lovers whose story is told through the music of ABBA. And yes, Meryl sings ”Dancing Queen.”
THE SISTERHOOD OF THE TRAVELING PANTS 2 (Aug. 8) The first Sisterhood took in $40 million on the strength of its appealing ensemble and the book series’ built-in fan base. Now that cast member America Ferrera is a household name, this follow-up could be an even bigger hit.